A New Year’s Resolution from me to you…

Greetings, Bearers!

As part of the change I’ve wanted to undertake for the new year, I’ve made a little change for you.  As of today (Yeah, I know: a little late.  Typical resolution, right? 😉 ) I will be changing the pricing on my Smashwords short stories to either free, or to a “name your own price option.”

That’s right, there will be no more fixed prices (except for free) for my short stories.

“Why?” You ask.

Because I want as many people as possible to enjoy what I’ve written, and I don’t want price to be an impediment. Whether or not I can make a living off what I write isn’t the question for me.  What I care about is that you the readers are as motivated and as encouraged as you can be to pick out a story of mine and enjoy it.  You have many, many, many options at your fingertips when it comes to Ebooks and Estories, and I hope that in doing this you’ll be emboldended to consider my works if you haven’t already done so.

Would I like to make a living on writing? Of course.  But even more than that, I want people to read the stories and enjoy them for what they are. That’s what makes for rewarding writing, even more so than how many dollars line the pockets.

So please, feel free to check out the stories.  If you are one of the many thousands who have already read my works, don’t worry: I’ll be putting out more this year. I have several almost ready to go, along with my nearly finished novel that I started as a result of my time in James Patterson’s Master Class.

Alright, enough chatter from me! Back to work!
See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

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Merry Christmas!

..or as they would say in my ancestors’ tongues, “Buon Natale!”

A Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.  I’ll be back on the flipside of the calendar, hopefully with some more stuff prepared for you, my dear readers!

J. Dean.

To my readers… more coming soon…

Greetings, Bearers,

It’s been awhile, I confess, and for that I regret my silence.  Even now, with this moment in which I can write, it is only brief and fleeting.

But it is a VERY good brief and fleeting.

My next writing project is nearly finished. And I’m very pleased with how it’s shaping out.

There’s still more to do. I’ll need to go back through it and edit.  I’ve found some places where gaps have to be filled through additional information. And as I’m not as familiar with the Old American West as I would like to be, I need to retrace and reword some of which I’ve written.  A bit of work, but necessary.

But… all that being aside, I like what I’m seeing, and I think you will as well.

And yes, I assure you: the Vein has not been forgotten. Not at all.  I fully intend to return and finish the arcs of the Bearers, as well as put out some more short stories. Though my latest novel is not science fiction or fantasy, those genres still run through my blood and stimulate my mind, and I’ll be looking forward to a literary bloodletting of those ideas.

(Yeah, kinda gross now that I read it, isn’t it…)

Alright, let me know about what you’ve read and what you like.  I’ve received some very positive feedback privately, and I want to thank those of you who have provided it. I hope you’ll keep reading, and spread the word about the stories.

In the meantime, See you all in the Vein!

(or anywhere else in my weird little universes!)

J. Dean

Surealities, Part IV now available!

Greetings, Bearers!

I am pleased to announce that I now have Surrealities, Part IV available for download on Smashwords.com!  Below is a brief synopsis of the two-short stories in this segment.  Enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

See you in the Vein!
J. Dean

Surrealities4final

The fourth in a series of short story serials dealing with the bizarre, the imaginative, and the terrifying…

From the mind of storyteller J. Dean comes the “Surrealities,” short story series, a concept rooted in and inspired by weekly television serials such as The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and The Outer Limits, and classic radio serials such as Suspense, Dimension X, Lights Out, and other regular tales that take the imagination to the heights of exhilaration and the depths of fear.

In “Allergies” a junior high boy finds himself plagued by something far more sinister than the regular pressures of every day school. The second story, “Turn Left at the End of the World” introduces a woman who receives a desperate but incredulous plea from a friend who begs her to look beyond the world she knows.

A sneak preview of my project..

Greetings, Bearers!

When we last met, I had begun a novel for development in my Master Class with James Patterson.  And I have to say that, while I’ve had good writing days in the past, I cannot tell you how quickly and easily this novel is coming to me, as you can tell if you’ve kept up with my Twitter posts. (I hope that’s a good thing!). I attribute the tutelage under Mr. James Patterson for a good deal of it, but part of it has to do with just the general idea of the novel itself.  It’s very different than anything I’ve written before, and it’s almost seemed to have taken on a life of its own.

And no, my friends. For those of you worried about the Vein series, I assure you that I have not forgotten about our Bearers and their convergence to the Vein.  Though the series is being laid aside for a bit, I will get back to it as soon as I get this one out of my system.

As a matter of fact, let me share with you a little bit of the story. Below is the prologue.  See if it whets your appetite.  Let me know your thoughts about it, or anything else of mine you’ve read.  If you like it, feel free to pass it on to others.

And as an update on other projects (besides the Vein), I will soon have Surrealities 4 ready for consumption on smashwords, hopefully within the next week; by the end of the month at the very latest.

So enjoy this little snippet, courtesy of excitement and imagination on my behalf.  And by all means give me your feedback!

See you in the Vein (and other places for that matter)!

J. Dean

Jonah Barrowman screamed, but the thunder overruled him. A defiant fist led the way as he trudged forward through low tree branches and watery bullets shot from the clouds. The battle in the skies roared, as lightning exploded in the clouds like cannons, puncturing the night with brilliant flashes of illumination.  Heaven was at war with Earth, and precipitation made up the ammunition of the angels.

Martha was right: he never should have left.

Pain exploded through his right shoulder again. He tried to shrug it off, but it only clung to him with more vengeance. Cold rain mingled with warm blood. Jonah imagined it as a free-flowing river that cascaded down his body, emptying into one of the many pools smothering the grassy terrain.  There it would nourish the grass, blending with nature in a manner akin to the dead bodies laid to rest, rotting and decomposing in their coffins.

Rotting and decomposing. Just like the rest of his party.

Lamp-colored memories of ripped clothing exposing ripped flesh, coupled with lifeless eyes full of the memory of the last horrific thing they saw while alive, flashed through Jonah’s mind. Men and women he had known for years had now been reduced to shredded, half-devoured meat, left behind by those things, the things that everybody knew about but nobody dared to name. The things that prowled about by night and left only blood and body parts in the morning.

The things that now chased him.

As if confirming Jonah’s realization, a cry unlike anything produced by human or animal pierced the forest. The tone spoke to him of hate, of lust, of excitement at the prospect of killing another human, despite already slaughtering a dozen others only hours ago. The cry tingled his spine, sending a shudder through his soaked body. Jonah urged his legs to move on, move faster, as the idea crossed his mind that stopping and turning around would reveal to him that whatever called out for more of his blood would be right behind him.

He shook his head: No! No more dwelling on the oncoming horror! He needed to run! Run as fast as he could! Surely he wasn’t far from safety now! They hadn’t ventured too deep into the woods, had they? The edge of the woods should be nearby, and with it the reassuring, fortress-like form of sanctuary.

More cries like the first slithered between the trees. Jonah wished he still had his rifle. Instead, his mouth fired a babbled confession:

“I’msorryMarthaI’msosorryMarthaI’msorryI’msorryI’msorry..”

He spewed the confession while circling wide trunks. He hoped, prayed she heard him, would forgive him, would welcome him back into her arms. She would, he thought. He’d do any sort of penance, any external sign of contrition he could muster for her to absolve him.

He just had to make it back.

There! Jonah saw it through the last row of trees. Forked lightning bolts traced the silhouette of the exterior palisade, flanked on either end by the lit blockhouses, each of which glowed with faint lamplight. Like two yellow eyes, the structure stared back at him.  Jonah managed a smile: despite all that had happened, he had never been more glad to see that dark behemoth of an edifice.

He picked up the pace as much as he could, but the ground didn’t want to cooperate. Downpours had changed the surface to a stubborn mud that clung to him, impeding him with as much resistance as possible. It was as if his pursuers had turned all of nature against him, casting some witch’s spell upon the land to ensnare him, imprison him until they could reach him and perform their unholy, unspeakable acts upon him.

The severed flesh in his shoulder burned, a fire in the rain.  He grit his teeth, wishing that the torrential downpour would put it out.  The weather granted him no such mercy.

Another inhuman cry sounded off. Jonah pressed forward with more urgency, fighting mud and weather and pain to cross the flooded plain and make it back to safety. How much further did he have to go? Was he even halfway across the field? He had to be. Even with the slogging through the transformed terrain, even with the gaping wound that recycled its agony with each step, he had to be making progress. After all, there wasn’t that much distance between the settlement and the woods, was there? No more than half a mile, right?

He mumbled a yes through soaked lips, but conviction did not accompany the answer.

His left foot came down on something solid and unyielding. Balance gave way to instability, and Jonah Barrowman fell to the earth, wounded shoulder first. He screamed as the open flesh planed a kiss on grass and soil. Through grit teeth he huffed hasty breaths, trying to expel the pain by frantic exhalations. His eyelids mashed against each other, a reflex from the pain.  He wanted to open them and find himself in his warm bed, dry and safe. He begged whatever divine power might be listening to make this only a horrific nightmare, one which would soon end with a jolt and an awakening between sheets.

He opened his eyes and found himself on his back. He raised his head and glimpsed in a flash of lightning the bulbous black outline of the forest, cutting into the sky like somebody’s failed attempt at creating  a horizon full of mountains.

Another flash revealed the tall, crowded columns of trees.

And among them, other things that were not trees.  Other things that ran and galloped and lumbered toward him.

Jonah Barrowman rolled over and pushed himself up with all of his might.  Pain be damned, he would not linger out here to confirm what he feared. With a heave and a growl, he stood and resumed his escape.

After several more steps, the ground firmed up, refusing to give way.  He had found the hard, unyielding trail. His heart leaped; not much further now.

Not much longer, Martha.

The cries came again, a chorus of howls from hell, calling for his soul.

Almost there.  Just keep going…

The settlement loomed ahead. The burning eyes of the towers looked down upon him with blazing life. He would make it.

But what about the consequences he would face for leaving?

That didn’t matter now.  He would face whatever trial, whatever judgment they would present him. At worst, any verdict could always be appealed. Anything would be better than remaining out here and joining the others in his party by way of death. If it meant seeing Martha again, he’d take a thousand lashes for it.

He crashed into the gate, aggravating his wound.  It didn’t matter; he was here now. A half-crazed laugh ascended from his throat.  He slammed the fist of his uninjured side against the gate. “Open up!” he cried. “It’s Jonah Barrowman!”

The wind picked up.  The thunder roared after a stuttered trio of lightning flashes. No answer from the other side. Jonah struck again, harder.  

“Is there anyone there!?” he called. “Guard! Let me in! I beg you!”

Behind him, the cries of his pursuers rang out again. Closer. More confident. More ravenous.

“Please! For the love of God, let me in! Everyone else is dead! I’m all that’s left!”

He looked up through the pelting barrage of rain to the guard windows.  Light seemed to brighten, then dim, as if somebody were moving a lamp around the room.  Had they heard him?

Somewhere else in the darkness, things were trudging through the mud and grass with rhythmic steps. Getting closer.

“Hurry!  They’re almost upon me! Don’t leave me out here like this! Please!”

The settlement looked down upon him with indifferent silence.

“Please!  O-okay! I’m sorry! I was wrong in venturing out!  I admit it! I’ll take whatever punishment you give! Just don’t leave me out here to die!”

The gate did not care.  Nor did the glowing blockhouse.

“Martha!  Martha! Are you there?!”

Rain answered. Lightning answered.  Thunder answered.

Martha did not.

“Don’t let me die!” Jonah shrieked.

Something splashed behind him. Jonah shut his eyes as his forehead rested upon wood. Sobs choked his throat. He didn’t want to turn, didn’t want to look.  Maybe they’re not really there, he reasoned.  Maybe if I don’t look they won’t be there.

He looked up again to the blockhouse above him. Through tears and rain, he saw a light, rolling and dancing, held aloft by a head and shoulders, visible in the window. He was saved!

Jonah Barrowman’s mouth formed into a relieved smile. “Oh thank G–”

A claw-filled blow to his neck ended his gratitude.

 

Finished my Master class!

Greetings, Bearers!

Well, I did it! I finally finished my Master Class with James Patterson, and I have to say that, if you are an aspiring writer, I would heartily recommend this course!  I might say more about it in the future, but it will have to suffice to say for right now that I’ve received some very good tips and ideas, and am also FAR MORE consistent about plugging away at writing each and every day (If you’ve been following my Twitter feed you’ll be aware of this).

Okay, time for me to get back to business.  I’ll be doing more here soon!

See you in the Vein (and elsewhere!)

J. Dean

Back to school for Yours Truly…

Greetings, Bearers!

My apologies for my silence over the better part of two months, as I’ve had what I thought would be a lot of time for writing cut into by this thing called life. But no more on that.

See, I’m going back to school.  Sort of.

I’m enrolled in James Patterson’s Master Class on Writing.  As a writer, I want to do everything within my power to better myself, both for my own sake and for the sake of you Dear Readers who read what I put out. Mr. Patterson has proven himself to be an excellent writer who has a thing or two to teach me, so I’ve decided to learn from what he offers in his course.

One principle I’ve learned that applies to all of life as well as writing specifically is that the worst thing a person can think is that they “know it all” and have nothing more to learn.  Nothing, in fact, can be further from the truth: not only is it purely factual that each and every one of us should always be in the mindset of always learning, but having such a mindset works to our advantage, as it develops us to be better at that which we learn, in addition to keeping us mentally honed and pliable, which is better for overall mental fortitude. I intend to do this with a few disciplines in my life, including writing.

So I have some homework, and I’d like all of you to feel free to join in with me.  One of my assignments is to try to put out at least 500 words a day and eventually increase that output to 1,000 words, while trying to keep it in the timeframe of an hour. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be doing just this, and posting my updates on Twitter under my handle JDean1974.  If you’d like to see what I’ve written, contact me via Twitter, and I’ll see what I can do about getting you a copy of the work! 😀

In the meantime, feel free to contact me and let me know your thoughts. If you like what I’ve put out, pass it on to others and invite them along! It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy this journey as much as I intend!

Okay, time for me to rest up and prepare for the journey of a thousand miles. Get ready for that first step!

See you in the Vein (and everywhere else!)

J. Dean